- Page Count: 432
- Release Date: February 21, 2017
- My Rating: 3.5 stars
The Girl of Fire and Thorns meets The Queen of the Tearling in this thrilling fantasy standalone about one girl’s unexpected rise to power.
Freya was never meant be queen. Twenty third in line to the throne, she never dreamed of a life in the palace, and would much rather research in her laboratory than participate in the intrigues of court. However, when an extravagant banquet turns deadly and the king and those closest to him are poisoned, Freya suddenly finds herself on the throne.
Freya may have escaped the massacre, but she is far from safe. The nobles don’t respect her, her councillors want to control her, and with the mystery of who killed the king still unsolved, Freya knows that a single mistake could cost her the kingdom – and her life.
Freya is determined to survive, and that means uncovering the murderers herself. Until then, she can’t trust anyone. Not her advisors. Not the king’s dashing and enigmatic illegitimate son. Not even her own father, who always wanted the best for her, but also wanted more power for himself.
As Freya’s enemies close in and her loyalties are tested, she must decide if she is ready to rule and, if so, how far she is willing to go to keep the crown.
This had all the elements of a typical YA fantasy book, but was actually more like a murder mystery! I was superinto the first 20% of this book but then kind of lost interest when the pacing slowed down.
The beginning quickly establishes the main character of Freya, who’s pretty far down the line of succession for the throne. She isn’t well-versed in court etiquette or politics and would rather spend time working in her laboratory. She was an intelligent, level-headed, and capable main character.
Freya leaves a banquet at the palace and pretty much everyone who stays is poisoned. She’s suddenly queen and has to learn to navigate court politics and stay alive while she tries to figure out who the murderer is. But this is also where the book slows down a lot. There are a variety of characters with different motives, a potentially complicated love interest, and… just a lot of people? The only character I was really interested in was Torsten Wolff (BECAUSE HOW AWESOME IS THAT NAME).
Basically this is a great setting with a refreshing main character, but I wasn’t terribly into the story after the initial massacre. I just didn’t find the pacing particularly gripping and ended up not really caring about anything in the end. I’ve never been that into murder mysteries, though, so maybe that affected my rating.
Update: if this is seriously a standalone then my 3 stars are overly generous because that ending was super weak.
Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC!